Uptick in migrant arrivals eyed with concern by Greece’s islanders


Official data on Thursday showed an uptick in refugee and migrant arrivals from Turkey to Greece’s shores, increasing concerns among residents on the Aegean islands that have borne the brunt of the refugee crisis.

A total of 151 people were reported as entering Greece in 24 hours on Thursday, 74 of whom landed on Chios, 54 on Lesvos and 23 on other islands, slightly above the 146 arrivals in the previous 24-hour period. According to official figures, the number of migrants and refugees that reached Greece between June 8 and Thursday morning came to 538, a significant rise from May when daily arrivals were in the double digits.

The upsurge is stoking fears on islands such as Chios that are already struggling to cope with thousands of refugees and migrants stranded by slow processing and deportation procedures. Residents of Chios held a rally on Thursday night to protest plans for a pre-departure facility on the island, where authorities said they will temporarily detain dozens of migrants who are not eligible for asylum before they are deported.

Protesters say that the official line in favor of the facility, pointing to a decrease in arrivals on Lesvos since a similar center was opened there, are disproved by the uptick observed in recent days.

A similar rally was also held on the island of Samos on Thursday.